There’s an excellent documentary called When We Were Kings about the “Rumble in the Jungle”, Muhammad Ali’s legendary Zaire bout with George Foreman. This was 1974, and Foreman at that time can only be described as surly, menacing, reticent and downright scary… a boxing Frankenstein. I can’t even remember ten words he spoke in the entire movie.
If you had told me this dude would one day became a jovial infomercial pitchman, I would have said you were crazy. It’d be like Paris Hilton being named as director of the National Science Foundation; no one would believe it.
But Foreman did become a pitchman — an insanely successful one — and like millions of others, I purchased one of his Foreman Grills back in 1997, drawn in by its promise to “Knock out the fat!” (The best part of the infomercial was the host’s explanation that “Because it’s higher in the rear than in the front, fat drips AWAY from the food.” Ohhhh! Thank YOU, Mr. Wizard!)
I used the grill like crazy for many years, mostly because I didn’t really know how to cook, so throwing on a piece of chicken was a fast and easy dinner. These days I don’t use it often, but there are two areas where it’s still incredibly handy: as a way to grill vegetables, and as a sandwich press.
So when I came across an artichoke and eggplant panini recipe that required both grilled eggplant and pressed bread, I thought, let’s fire up the ‘ol Foreman Grill!
This recipe is incredibly simple to make and requires only a few ingredients:
1 (6 1/2 oz) jar of marinated artichokes, drained
2 tbsp mayo
1 tbsp capers
1 garlic clove
1 loaf of your favorite bread
Fontina cheese, sliced
First I mixed together the artichokes, mayo, capers and garlic in a food processor.
Then I sliced the eggplant lengthwise into four slices, brushed them on both sides with olive oil, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and threw them on the Foreman. In about 8 minutes they were nicely grilled and soft.
I sliced a ciabatta, brushed the outside with olive oil, and partially removed the insides to create a little pocket. On one half I spread the artichoke mixture; on the other half I layered a few slices of Fontina and eggplant.
Then it was back on the Foreman for about another 8-10 minutes until the cheese was melted and bubbly and grill marks appeared on the ciabatta.
Mmm… What’s not to like about an easy-to-make, piping hot, crusty panini.
You could do this on an outdoor grill, a grill pan, or a fancy panini press. But as you can see, it works just as well on a Foreman Grill.
That’s one lean, mean, fat-reducing grilling machine.